For those who aren't familiar with Sunshine Week, here's a brief description:
Sunshine Week is about the public's right to know what its government is doing, and why. Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.
Sunshine Week is a non-partisan initiative whose supporters are conservative, liberal and everything in between.
So, making information accessible to the public, and encouraging transparency in government to make communities stronger sounds like a good thing, right?
Not if you're Mike Rogers. He voted NO on two* of four important Sunshine Week-inspired open government bills this week. (For the record, Rogers did vote 'AYE' on H.R. 1309, which attempts to strengthen the FOIA.)
Yesterday Mr. Rogers voted NO on The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007. The bill is part of the Democrats’ Accountability Agenda, which...
strengthens protections for federal whistleblowers to prevent retaliation against those who report wrongdoing, waste, fraud, or abuse to authorities. It would protect all whistleblowers, with specific language for national security, contractor, and scientific whistleblowers. As such, it would enable whistleblowers to come forward in situations where intelligence was being mishandled as in the run-up to the Iraq War, where contractors are overcharging as has happened with Halliburton and many others, and where scientific integrity was being breached as has apparently happened repeatedly with the Bush Administration and global warming science.
The bill passed by a vote of 223-193.
Considering that Mike Rogers has accepted large PAC contributions from corporations like Koch Industries – a recipient of questionable no-bid government contracts – it's no surprise that he voted no on open-government bills like H.R. 985. Apparently it's not a priority for the government to protect whistleblowers who expose the overcharges of companies who receive no-bid contracts, like Koch Industries and Halliburton.
With republican congressman like Mike Rogers out of power in Washington, no longer able to fully shield their campaign financiers from Congressional oversight, it's no wonder that contractors like Halliburton are moving their corporate headquarters outside American borders.
Rogers also voted NO on H.R.1255, the Presidential Records Act. This bill...
would overturn President Bush’s 2001 Executive Order 13233 that allows presidents, vice presidents, former presidents, and even the families of former presidents to delay or withhold presidential records indefinitely.
The bill passed by an overwhelming majority: 333-93.
So, Mike Rogers voted 'AYE' on two of these open government bills, but voted 'NAY' on two others. Why does Mike Rogers only support some transparency in government? By its very nature, an open government is a good thing... except for those who have something to hide.
*CORRECTION: Mike Rogers also voted 'AYE' on H.R. 1362. I had originally written that he voted NO on this bill, when in fact, he had simply voted NO on one of the resolutions. The post has been amended to reflect this mistake.